Saturday 17 October 2015

Dips Patel reviews Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth" and writes about his "Snowtown" and Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood"

The latest version of Macbeth hit the big-screen recently, directed by Justin Kurzel (who brought us Snowtown, which if you haven’t seen is well worth catching; brutal, grim and based on a true story it’s worth bracing yourself before you press play on that one...)
I digress, back to Macbeth, this time we have Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in the lead roles. Visually sumptuous, the cinematography is exhilarating (and could easily be cast as a character in its own right) some interesting modern flourishes to the story and generally casting is spot on with Fassbender immensely affecting and pretty much perfect as the initially sceptical and apprehensive would-be king turned maniacal tyrant. My only issue with the film is, and it pains me to type this, Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I think she’s a fantastic actor and has a great screen presence but a presence which doesn’t quite ring true for this role, her understated take on the character lacking any ‘theatrical’ quirks (a good thing) but also lacking (a bad thing) in that believable insidious lust for power that in my head, the character is consumed by, not just for her husband but herself. In my ever-so-humble-opinion, it’s the Lady Macbeth character that’s the driving force of the play and sadly I just didn’t get that from Cottilard’s performance, nonetheless , the film as a whole is definitely worth watching. 
Now then, for a pretty awesome Macbeth-y film I would highly recommend Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, which loosely takes the story and sticks it into a feudal Japan. Starring Kurosawa stalwart and long-time collaborator, Toshiro Mifune as Taketoki Washizu in the Macbeth role, and even given the deviations from the original source (of which there are many, including having just one witch instead of three who, by the way gave me the heebiejeebies) for the most part it’s a fantastic take on the Scottish Play. The point of me mentioning this now, sapping the last vestige of your patience is simply the performance by Isuzu Yamada, who plays Lady Asaji Washizu (the Lady Macbeth equivalent role). Creepy as hell, hugely impressive and wholly believable as the quietly Machiavellian wife whose whispering words in her husband’s shell-like unleash a murderous monster before falling to pieces as the realisation and ramifications of her machinations make themselves at home. A mesmerising, stunning and exquisitely pitched performance, well worth a peek.

About the reviewer
Dips Patel is a graduate in Graphic Design which means he can colour in without going over the lines and when he does he makes it look deliberate, cool and edgy. He much prefers fine art where the art of talking nonsense is finer still allowing him extremely moderate success in introducing his work to a wider audience. Hobbies include reading stuff, watching stuff, commendably misguided attempts at painting stuff and consuming copious amounts of coco pops, clementines, curries, cakes and cocktails, not all at the same time which is frowned upon in polite society.

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